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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Carbohydrate utilization in selected strains of British Columbia chinook salmon Mazur, Carol Nelson


Digestible carbohydrate is commonly encountered by chinook salmon {Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) in practical culture diets, although little is known regarding its utilization. This study was undertaken to examine (1) the effects of a high carbohydrate diet and (2) glucose tolerance in chinook salmon of selected British Columbia strains. Yearling chinook salmon of three strains were fed to satiation either a high or a low carbohydrate diet for 63 days. The diets were isonitrogenous, and contained respectively 30 % gelatinized wheat starch or an equicaloric amount of herring oil. There was an overall reduction in growth of chinook fed the high-carbohydrate diet over the 63-day feeding period. Although specific growth rates declined initially in the high carbohydrate-fed groups, they were comparable to those of control groups in the final third of the trial, indicating an adaptation response. Chinook fed the high carbohydrate diet had increased carcass protein and ash, and decreased carcass fat levels relative to controls. Feed intake was generally lower in these groups, and differences in feeding response were observed between diets and strains. Although feed and energy efficiencies were reduced in chinook fed the high carbohydrate diet, protein utilization was comparable on the two diets, indicating a protein-sparing effect of the carbohydrate. Consumption of the high carbohydrate diet led to significant elevations in hepatosomatic indices (HSI) and liver glycogen (LG) concentrations. In Quesnel chinook, LG levels exceeding 10 % did not appear to have any detrimental effects on feeding, growth or health. LG concentrations and HSI fell to basal levels in all groups 21 days after feed withdrawal. Some strain differences were evident. For example, Big Qualicum chinook fed the high carbohydrate diet exhibited the lowest liver glycogen accumulation, highest rate of carcass fat deposition, and best energy efficiency ratios relative to control groups, suggesting a difference in carbohydrate metabolism in this strain. On the other hand, Quesnel chinook exhibited the highest relative growth on the high carbohydrate diet. Mortality, although unaffected by diet in the Quesnel and Robertson Creek chinook, appeared to be higher in high carbohydrate-fed Big Qualicum chinook. In the second part of the study, chinook salmon subjected to an oral glucose tolerance test displayed pronounced and persistent hyperglycaemia, indicative of poor glucose tolerance. Strain differences were evident in the magnitude of response. Acclimation to a high carbohydrate diet prior to testing resulted in a significantly reduced elevation of blood glucose, indicating an adaptation response. While plasma glucose concentrations approached 500 mg/dl in some trials, plasma insulin concentrations exhibited a two-fold rise, with indistinct peaks. Plasma glucose and plasma insulin concentrations were poorly correlated, indicating that glucose is a poor insulin secretagogue in chinook salmon.

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